Research Assistant - Neuroscience and Pharmacology (Tomchik Lab) at University of Iowa

Posted in Other 6 days ago.

Location: Iowa City, Iowa

Job Description:

The Carver College of Medicine Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology (Dr. Tomchik lab) is seeking a Research Assistant. This Research Assistant will carry out research on the mechanisms of learning and memory, focusing on the role of dopaminergic circuits in driving compartmentalized plasticity that alters behavior following learning. One major aim of our research uses the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to examine how neuronal circuits are altered following learning, driving learned changes in behavioral responses. We have recently discovered that a specific set of dopaminergic neurons mediates salience-based changes in memory strength (Boto et al., 2019 Cell Reports 27, 2014-2021). Further downstream, learning drives compartmentalized changes in presynaptic acetylcholine release (Stahl et al., 2022 eLife e76712). We are currently diving deeper into the mechanisms of how neuromodulatory circuits drive synaptic, cellular, and circuit plasticity underlying learning and memory. This position provides an opportunity to join a dynamic, supportive lab, working to answer questions about fundamental neural function in a powerful model system.

Duties will include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Carry out experiments with minimal oversight, seeking guidance when needed
  • Maintain fly stocks, carry out crosses to generate specific genetic lines/progeny, assist with fly room cleaning
  • Carry out morphological experiments using immunohistochemistry and microscopy for various markers
  • Perform behavioral experiments, such as olfactory classical conditioning, using Drosophila
  • Carry out experiments independently based on protocols developed by other research staff or principal investigator of the research project. Set up and operate research materials/equipment. Read and understand protocols. Arrange and plan daily activities to prepare and carry out experiments to meet overall research goals. Perform procedures assuring fidelity to protocols. Track progress of research, identify any failure points, troubleshoot, consult with others when necessary/helpful, and ensure continued progress of research to meet goals
  • Read and review research articles to develop knowledge of the research area. As knowledge/skills develop, analyze literature to develop hypotheses for discussion with other researchers and the principal investigator
  • Adhere to safety and regulatory guidelines. Assist with ensuring that the working environment and records/documentation are compliant with applicable health and safety regulations. Collate documentation for protocol submissions (IBC, etc.) as requested
  • Keep detailed records of experiments. Present research results verbally at lab meetings. Prepare written research results for publication. Present research results at research conferences, locally and nationally
  • Order and maintain records of drugs/chemical agents and other supplies. Assist in the maintenance of lab equipment, monitoring lab inventory, arranging service contracts, and interfacing with technicians and vendors
  • Assist graduate students and postdocs with experiments as requested by the principal investigator

Our mission is to inspire and educate world class health care providers and scientists for the people of Iowa and our global community. Researchers in the College's over 280 laboratories are served by state-of-the-art core research facilities and research support facilities. Much of the research conducted is interdisciplinary and collaborations are fostered and coordinated through major research centers, institutes, and programs. Many faculty members are internationally renowned for their research. Two faculty members are Howard Hughes Institute Investigators, 12 are members of the Institute of Medicine and two are members of the National Academy of Sciences.

Percent of Time: 100%

Staff Type: Professional & Scientific

Type of Position: Specified Term. Initial appointment is for one year. Appointment may be extended based on performance and availability of funding.

Pay Grade: 3A -

Benefits Highlights

  • Regular salaried position located in Iowa City, Iowa
  • Fringe benefit package including paid vacation; sick leave; health, dental, life and disability insurance options; and generous employer contributions into retirement plans
  • For more information about Why Iowa?, click here

Required Qualifications:

  • Requires a bachelor's degree in a biomedical related field, other related science program, or equivalent combination of education and progressively responsible experience in a research laboratory environment
  • Previous experience in a laboratory
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, organizational skills, and interpersonal skills
  • Experience with Microsoft Office
  • Ability to work independently while being accountable and efficient with time management

Desirable Qualifications:

  • Previous experience with Drosophila
  • Basic histology techniques (e.g., immunohistochemistry) and/or biochemistry
  • Experience with microscopy
  • Familiarity with Prism and/or Illustrator

Application Process: In order to be considered, applicants must upload a CV or resume, and cover letter (under submission relevant materials) that clearly address how they meet the listed required and desired qualifications of this position.

Job openings are posted for a minimum of 14 calendar days and may be removed from posting and filled any time after the original posting period has ended. Successful candidates will be subject to a credential and criminal background check. This position is not eligible for University sponsorship for employment authorization. Professional references will be requested at a later step in the recruitment process.

For additional questions, please contact Anne Beyerink at

Additional Information
  • Classification Title: Research Assistant
  • Appointment Type: Professional and Scientific
  • Schedule: Full-time
  • Pay Level: 3A
Contact Information
  • Organization: Healthcare
  • Contact Name: Anne Beyerink
  • Contact Email:

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